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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memorial of the apostle James, son of Zebedee. He was the first of the Twelve to be martyred, and his body is venerated in Compostela.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 20, 20-28

Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low;

and he said to her, 'What is it you want?' She said to him, 'Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.'

Jesus answered, 'You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?' They replied, 'We can.'

He said to them, 'Very well; you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.'

When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers.

But Jesus called them to him and said, 'You know that among the gentiles the rulers lord it over them, and great men make their authority felt.

Among you this is not to happen. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant,

and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave,

just as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus met James along the shore of the lake of Galilee and called him and his brother John to follow him. James (called the “Greater” to distinguish him from the other James) begins his journey as a disciple by immediately listening to Jesus’ call. Like the others, he did not always understand the loving plans the Lord had for his life, and like the others, he too gave in to the temptation of trying to secure his own position and role. But the first requirement of discipleship is to listen to the teacher, not to secure our own status. Unfortunately, it is quite easy to fall into the temptation of making ourselves our own teachers. This sometimes even happens in subtle ways, such as when we seek, as is often said, “self-realization.” The disciple is not called to self-realization or to affirm his or her own ideas. We want to “realize” ourselves, we need to step out of ourselves, not put ourselves in the centre or in the first place! The disciple, first of all, listens to the teacher in order to be similar to him and receive from him a mission that he or she must carry out. Discipleship requires us to be attentive to the Lord and spend time with him and to listen to the Word of God continuously. In this sense, we cannot be disciples once and for all. We need to choose to listen to the Word each day and decide to follow it. The episode narrated by Matthew shows how difficult it is for all of us to follow the Lord. The mother’s request that her two sons sit at Jesus’ right hand was not naive. And the jealous response of the others came immediately. Jesus patiently corrects them all and continues to speak to them. And James, who perhaps did not fully understand Jesus’ response, continues to follow him and listen to him, even though Jesus corrects him when, out of zeal, he wants to send down fire from the skies and destroy the Samaritans who did not want to welcome Jesus. But the encounter with the risen Jesus and the infusion of the Holy Spirit made James a witness of the Gospel, to the point of shedding his blood. According to tradition, James was the first apostle to be martyred. On that day, he tasted the same cup from which Jesus had drunk; his life had become like his Teacher’s: a life spent for others. That is what his Lord had asked him to do. And obeying until the end, James fulfilled the mission Jesus had entrusted to him.

Memory of the Apostles

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 19 March
Liturgy of the Sunday
Monday, 20 March
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 21 March
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 22 March
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 23 March
Memory of the Church
Friday, 24 March
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 25 March
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 26 March
Liturgy of the Sunday